But Mr. Smith’s team has also taken pains to spare the former president unnecessary embarrassment or inconvenience, as evidenced by their deferential attitude at the arraignment toward Mr. Trump and his co-defendant, Walt Nauta.
The U.S. Marshals Service, a branch of the Justice Department responsible for law enforcement at federal courts, adopted a similar tack. They booked Mr. Trump quickly and quietly in an office in the courthouse, registering his fingerprints electronically but eschewing a mug shot “because there are plenty of pictures of him” to choose from, according to a federal law enforcement official who briefed reporters afterward.
Mr. Smith’s decision to avoid the placement of strict preconditions on Mr. Trump’s release appears to be part of a larger strategy of avoiding secondary fights that could complicate efforts to obtain a conviction, according to current and former Justice Department officials.
By not pressing to limit contact between Mr. Trump and potential witnesses who are also his aides and other employees or advisers and lawyers, the prosecutors were seeking to minimize the potential for any violations of those strictures that might disrupt their efforts to keep the trial focused on the core charges involving national security secrets and obstruction.
“I imagine this is why they did not insist on travel restrictions or even a gag order,” said Barbara L. McQuade, who was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017.
There is also a sense among some close to the case that much of the evidence needed to convict the defendants — in the form of text messages, photographs, camera footage, sworn testimony and the detailed notes of M. Evan Corcoran, a Trump lawyer — is already in place, making a confrontation over witnesses a costly distraction with limited benefits.
“No-contact orders, like the one the judge insisted on, are routine — even in cases where you don’t have a defendant, like Trump, who has tried to influence witnesses,” said Mary McCord, a former top official in the Justice Department’s national security division. “But in this case, Jack Smith has a lot of what he needs already, so he seems to be avoiding a fight that could slow the whole the process down.”